Weekly Ketchup 31 - Aliens

The past couple of days, my social media activities have largely been about "Documented" and "Guardians of the Galaxy". One would think these two things couldn't be farther apart from each other but, well, I always find a connection.

Earlier this week, I found out that "Documented" was gonna be screening at the CCP as part of the opening festivities of the Cinemalaya Film Festival. I made the effort to catch it last Friday, though I had to take some time off work to do so, because Jose Antonio Vargas' story appeals to me on so many level. For one thing, I was an undocumented American citizen for about 16 years here in the Philippines and a couple of years in Canada, which is a story I've already discussed in a previous blog a couple of years ago. Like Vargas, my mom also sent me to board a plane with a stranger to go live with my grandparents.

However, the parallelism in our stories end there. For one thing, I'm not ever going to fight to gain citizenship to this country. But the irony is that I already do have a sort of citizenship thanks to my certificate of recognition, which actually makes me a citizen of the country in all but passport. This means that I can pay my taxes to this country (big whoop that turned out to be) and claim any benefits entitled to any taxpayer. I have been paying my dues since I started working and made my claim once, so that turned out pretty well. Vargas, though, has been paying his taxes in the US as well, even if he's not supposed to be there, but he won't be eligible to the benefits, which seems rather unfair.

The biggest difference between our stories is that I didn't end up separated from my mom or my dad or my siblings (yes, those are three separate entities as far as my sordid family history is concerned). And, unlike Vargas, I've actually experienced being deported - to the States.

I'm not sure if I knew anything at all of immigration laws back when I was a kid but I already knew the term "illegal alien" because my grandmother told me, more than once growing up, that I was one. And now that I think about it, it's strange that everyone in our little town seemed to know that they were basically harboring a fugitive like it was some sort of open secret. Was the country lax in implementing laws even then? Or was I sent to the province specifically to avoid the enforcers in Manila? I could ask but why bother. That time is done.

What I want answered now is whether it's fair that Vargas, whose contribution to the United States far outweighs mine, will never get the same opportunities available to me simply because I was born there. Just this past week, I was reminded to update my voter registration because there's a primary election happening in November. It feels like cheating, especially since I also share the opinion that, at least as far this country's electoral system is concerned, only the taxpayers should get to vote. That reminds me: I always tell people that I can't vote in Philippine elections because of my citizenship but I never conclusively figured out whether my recognition status covered that aspect of civic responsibility. I suppose I can still ask around.

Now, on to this week's other alien matter: "Guardians of the Galaxy"! There's not much else I can add to my barrage of posts yesterday, except maybe the big shocker that I wasn't really hyped up about the movie going into it. I did mention in my X-men blog that I feel like the Marvel Studios film universe is an obligation rather than a genuine interest. These Guardians aren't even characters I care so much about because like any fanboy of the old guard, these are still my Guardians of the Galaxy:

Still, the film is a triumph of genre storytelling. It's a comic book movie, to be sure, but it's clearly  not a superhero story. It's also the perfect example of how a simple plot wins in the execution. That being said, I'm not sure I agree with critics and fans who say that GotG is better than The Winter Soldier, which remains my favorite MCU film to date. And even then, Days of Future Past is still my favorite comic book movie of the year.

Of course, not everything about this past week was about aliens. Last Wednesday, I participated in Boho's quiz night / fundraiser hosted by geek friend Jon. I formed a team with UST batchmate/Geek Fight Committee member Denice and Mark Escay. We didn't win but hey! We had mojitos all around plus a screening of Robin Hood: Men In Tights! We even played a game of Cards Against Humanity with some of the Boho regulars, some of whom turned out to be Thomasians! I also caught up with Shin, an acquaintance I met through Dek, who I haven't seen or heard from in a long time. He invited to return last Friday but, well, "Documented" happened. I had a good time that night. I woke up late for work the next day and was so tired that I didn't catch GotG on opening day but I had a good time!

Funny thing about the Thomasians, though, was that Denice and I were just talking about how our old ID photos were stored on a server because we were able to retrieve it a few years before. The very next day, it was all over social media again. Not sure why but, well, I participated anyway.

Oh, and one last thing: It's my mom's birthday today so yay! Ice cream!

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